small  Auzentech X fi Prelude 7.1

Auzentech has won quite a number of fans since their launch by producing high quality and well designed soundcards for consumers and enthusiasts alike. Today, we will take a look at their latest soundcard, the X-Fi Prelude 7.1 which combines Auzentech’s engineering with Creative’s X-Fi chipset. Read on to find out more.

When it comes to soundcards, the first name to come to mind is perhaps, Creative. Having bought out their main competitor, Aureal Semiconductor, in 2000, Creative has had a virtual monopoly in the market ever since. Few companies have came up to challenge Creative and one of the more notably examples would be Auzentech. Auzentech made its name by producing a line of high quality soundcards based on the C-media 8700 series of chipset. These were the X-Mystique, X-Meridian and X-plosion and offered great features at a good price-point for the Home Theatre PC market. However, most would realise that this market was limited in size and can be considered niche. To reach out to a wider audience and bring high quality audio to more people, Auzentech has tied-up with Creative and licensed their X-Fi chipset. The result is the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude. Would it be the Prelude to something great to come? Join us as we take the X-Fi Prelude for a session and find out for yourself.

IMG 0010  Auzentech X fi Prelude 7.1
Did they choose the X-Fi so that they could carry on with the "X" prefix tradition?

The packaging should be familiar to those who have seen Auzentech’s previous offerings. This time round, there are many more logos on the front signifying the various additional technologies made available with the X-Fi chipset. Lets take a look at the basic specifications before we move on to unwrapping the card.

Specifications

Key Components

  • Creative X-Fi CA20K audio processor
  • One AKM AK-5394 super high performance 96kHz 24-bit ADC for analog input
  • Four AKM AK-4396 96kHz 24-bit advanced multi-bit DAC for analog output
  • 64Mbytes of memory for audio processing
  • High fidelity audio OPAMPs for analog input and output (TI OPA2134)
  • Front L/R output OPAMP is replaceable by end-user (National LM4562NA)
  • Dual mode S/PDIF receiver and transmitter

Audio Performance (Rated Output @ 5Vrms, Typical Value)

  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Weighted)
  • Stereo Output : 120dB (part spec)
  • Front and Rear Channels : 120dB (part spec)
  • Center : 120dB (part spec)
  • Subwoofer and Side Channels : 120dB (part spec)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (-3dBFS, A-weighted) : 0.001% – part spec
  • Frequency Response (+/-0.01dB, 24-bit/44.1kHz input ) : 20khz (part spec)
  • Frequency Response (+/-0.01dB, 24-bit/96kHz input ) : 43.5 khz (part spec)
  • 16-bit to 24-bit recording sampling rates: 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz

IO Connectors

  • One 3.5mm MIC input connector in rear panel
  • One 3.5mm line input connector in rear panel
  • One 4-pin AUX connector on board
  • Four 3.5mm 8 channel line output connectors in rear panel (FL/FR/C/SW/RL/RR/RSL/RSR)
  • One S/PDIF combo input connector in rear panel for receiving either coaxial or optical digital
  • One S/PDIF combo output connector in rear panel for transmitting either coaxial or optical digital
  • One 10-1pin front panel connector on board for MIC input and headphone
  • One 40-pin digital extension header on board to support AD-Link and other digital functionality